Secret Thoughts of Newbie Dads

Always curious about what your guy is thinking — especially now that he's a pops? We asked one new dad to spill what's really going on in those mysterious dude brains of theirs. Here's what he revealed...
save article
profile picture of The Bump Editors
Updated March 2, 2017
Hero Image
Image: Thinkstock

Baby books can drive you mad!
I did a lot of reading before my son Finn was born last April, and there were two questions that every book I read assumed guys needed answered: “Why is my woman acting so crazy?” and "So, am I still going to get laid?” Not only was this info useless, it was pretty patronizing. The simple answers are “hormones” and "not as much.” (Look at that, hundreds of pages of reading saved.)

Crying + Poo = Not So Terrible
Before Finn, I had never even held another baby, so I didn’t know what exactly to be scared of. Still, crying and poo were the source of my fundamental anticipatory fears-not knowing what to do when the crying happened, and, well, everything having to do with the poo. It turned out, both were needless concerns. The crying is all about context — know that, know the fix. The poo is all about remembering that someone wiped your ass for a whole bunch of years, too, and you just need to get over yourself.

Mother Nature’s pretty damn smart
For the most part, Mother Nature is all about giving you ramp-up time. You get nine months of mental and physical prep before actually becoming a parent. Then, once your package is delivered, you’re given something like a two month grace period to figure them out before their memories start forming and you might really start messing them up for life. They grow fast, but it’s slow enough that you can always stay at least one chapter ahead.

Hospitals are a great source for (free) supplies
First, the docs and nurses will flat out give you a going-home kit. But then you can supplement that with as many swaddle cloths, binkies, beanies, breast shields, and diaper/burp cloths as you feel ethically at liberty of acquiring (I did not say stealing). They tend to be of very good quality, and believe it or not, I found that using the hospital-provided gear was a nice constant when I got home.

Related Video

Who erased my memory en route from hospital to home?
In general, the transition home is tricky. I got so used to where everything was in the hospital, that the first few changes/feedings at home left me feeling like I’d never done it before.

I am a baby-feeding, diaper-changing ninja
Personally, I have Mr. T to thank for making it through the first two months: “Be cool, fool” became my mantra. Everyone talks about the first two months as being the most difficult-and it’s true. But I evolved from being a night time zombie that was slow to wake into… a baby-feeding, diaper-changing ninja. Essentially, it’s about learning to be functional while dealing with sleep deprivation — no mean feat.

…I am a ninja who cries over a binky
I must point out that the difficulty of sleep deprivation cannot be stressed enough. Sobbing when a binky drops on the floor and skitters under the couch at 3 a.m. is not a normal reaction for a well rested person. However, sobbing in such a fashion is perfectly normal when you’ve had at most 90 minutes of continuous sleep for the last 6 weeks and said binky has dropped from an inconsolable child’s mouth.

Breastfeeding is absurdly tricky.
Really, it’s amazing to me that we survived as long as we did as a species on breastfeeding alone given how difficult it looks. Very little will prepare you for it, and unless your partner is an earth goddess, there will most likely be misfires. There will certainly be tears for Mom and crying for baby. This is probably a good point to reiterate that your role as a dad will often be to act as a Zen rock garden of calm for mom when you’re all operating on zero sleep.

Hmmm… So I’m not the only Stay-at-Home Dad on the block. Cool.
Being a full-time dad, I spend a lot of time at coffee shops with Finn while the wife’s at work. I’m not sure what it was like before, but it feels like the Great Recession has thrust the primary-caregiving dad from avant-euro oddity into banal commonality. I’d estimate that the mid-day stroller-jockey demographic in my ‘hood runs 50% nanny, 30% moms, and 20% dads. I’d better start brushing up on the feature differences between the Bugaboo and the Orbit stat so I can keep up with the small talk.

So why, then, don’t public restrooms help us out?
SAHDs are still the minority, though, and there are always subtle reminders. Aside from the obvious, like Simalac’s theme phrase ( "Strong Moms”), and Dreft reminding us all to wash things that will touch the baby, including “Mom’s blouses” (I took the liberty of using the Dreft on my white tank-tops and truckers caps anyway, I hope they didn’t mind), Koala Care changing stations are placed tantalizingly out of reach-in the women’s bathroom.

Guest blogger (and SAHD extraordinaire) Tait lives in Venice Beach, California, with his wife and baby Finn.

save article

Next on Your Reading List

Father's Day Gifts
55 First Father’s Day Gifts That Will Make Him Smile
By Cassie Kreitner
fathers day gifts from baby to daddy gif
15 Special Father’s Day Gifts From Baby to Daddy
By Martina Garvey
young woman using dating app on smartphone while sitting on couch at home
Match Has Launched a New Dating App for Single Parents Called Stir
By Nehal Aggarwal
8 Types of New Dads
8 Types of New Dads
By Kylie McConville
parents holding up baby in front of colorful background
Why (and How) You Should Make a Family Mission Statement This Year
By The Bump Editors
new parents at the hospital after the mom just delivered her baby
The 5 Big Surprises in Store for Your Relationship After Baby Arrives
By Ashlee Neuman
4 Ways New Parents Can Strengthen Their Relationship
4 Ways New Parents Can Strengthen Their Relationship
By Tammy Gold
Can Having a Baby Strengthen Your Relationship?
Can Having a Baby Strengthen Your Relationship?
By Jayne Heinrich
Date Night: How Many Parents Are Actually Taking One?
Date Night: How Many Parents Are Actually Taking One?
By Anisa Arsenault
shark boy and lava girl tv show still
Sharkboy and Lava Girl Are Returning to the Screen—As Parents
By Nehal Aggarwal
elon musk and grimes pick unique baby name
Elon Musk Opens About Fatherhood and Parenting New Son With Grimes
By Nehal Aggarwal
dad holding daughter at the beach
9 Signs He’ll Be a Good Dad
By JD Roberto
Benjamin and maisani Anderson cooper
The Heartwarming Reason Anderson Cooper Is Co-Parenting With His Ex
By Nehal Aggarwal
Stacks of money represent unpaid labor of women
Women’s Unpaid Labor Is Globally Worth $10.9 Trillion, Report Says
By Nehal Aggarwal
couple having coffee in bed together
The 5 Most Expensive Cities for Valentine's Day Sitters, Study Finds
By Nehal Aggarwal
man sits down while looking at wifi signal on phone
This New Mom Turned Off Her Husband’s Wifi for the Best Reason
By Nehal Aggarwal
Why You Hate Your Partner After Baby Arrives
Why You Hate Your Partner After Baby Arrives
By Kaitlin Stanford
parents looking at summer infant baby monitor
Dads Are Quicker to Check on Baby Than Moms, Study Finds
By Nehal Aggarwal
somber dad holds crying baby
What Dads Need to Know About Postpartum Depression in Men
By Rachel Morris
actress busy phillips posing at an event
How Busy Philips and Her Husband Leveled Their Uneven Parenting Roles
By Laurie Ulster
Article removed.
Article removed.
Name added. View Your List